Menopause. Birth control pills. Stress. Breast feeding. Thyroid issues. These are a few of the common causes of vaginal dryness, which can often lead to discomfort with intercourse and decreased libido. Women have a wide assortment of both prescription and over the counter options -- and now, apparently, they have another one: flavored vaginal melts.
While innovation is great, especially in the area of women’s sexual health, I admit I did a double take when I heard about this the latest trend.
Vaginal moisturizing “melts” are suppositories (I’m assuming the marketing people felt that “melt” sounds sexier than “suppository.”) made of natural oils that contain added scents and flavors. Typically, vaginal moisturizers are used nightly to help the body create more moisture in the vagina, but these melts are meant to be used shortly before intercourse to add a burst of artificial moisture. In addition to improving dryness, they imply an added extra bonus to the sexual partner. They make for plenty of intriguing TikTok videos, but are these safe, healthy, and necessary?
According to the websites selling the vaginal moisturizing melts, the ingredients are all natural oils, which, in general, are safe for the vagina. As an OB/GYN I commonly recommend natural oils like coconut oil or olive oil as a personal lubricant. The down side to oil-based moisturizers is that they can damage latex condoms, making them less effective. Additionally, these type of products are not regulated by the FDA (especially ones sold on ETSY), so they should be used with caution. If you do try them, start with just a small portion of a suppository first to make sure there is no reaction or irritation.
The product websites I reviewed claimed to use all-natural health products. One of the biggest concerns with any vaginal product is that it might affect the vaginal PH which could affect the microbiome of the vagina, making you more vulnerable to yeast or bacterial infections. The products claim to be appropriate pH, but I would be very hesitant to recommend these products to women who have a history of recurrent yeast infections or if they are predisposed to infections (for example, women with diabetes, HIV, or taking immunosuppressant medications). Additionally, whatever ingredients they’ve included to enhance the flavor and smell of the melts could possibly cause irritation to the sensitive skin of the vagina.
The question here isn’t can you enhance the flavor and smell of your vagina, but should you. There is a fine line between products meant for sexual empowerment and those meant to imply that your vagina is stinky and gross and needs “sprucing up.” Which side of the line vaginal melts fall on is likely a matter of opinion. What is important for women to realize is that a healthy vagina has a slight odor -- and that is NORMAL. A vagina is not meant to taste like strawberry cheesecake.
Vaginal melts may be good option for some women to help relieve pain and dryness with intercourse. If you want to try the jazzier versions with added taste and smell out of an empowered sense of sexual adventure and you are not prone to yeast and vaginal infection, then go for it. However, don’t in any way be shamed into using a product like this out of a fear that your normal vaginal odor or taste is for some reason unappealing. If you have noted a new, stronger-than-usual vaginal odor or change in your discharge, please follow up with a medical provider for an exam, and do not try to mask problems with a vaginal melt.